The introduction of compulsory camera surveillance in the Kattegat is a mockery of Danish fishermen, says the the DFA CEO Svend-Erik Andersen

The introduction of compulsory camera surveillance in the Kattegat is a mockery of Danish fishermen, says the the DFA CEO Svend-Erik Andersen

The Minister of Fisheries introduction of compulsory camera surveillance in the Kattegat is a mockery of Danish fishermen, according to the Danish Fisheries Association.

The Danish Fisheries Minister, Rasmus Prehn has decided to introduce compulsory camera surveillance in the fishing for Norway lobsters in the Kattegat, where a voluntary model is currently being worked on. It is a mockery of the Danish fishermen, it sounds from the Danish Fisheries Association in a press release.

The Danish Fisheries Association has for months tried to land an agreement with Minister of Fisheries on an extension of the voluntary project, where a group of fishermen in the Kattegat have had camera surveillance installed on board their vessels. The fishing industry wanted the camera project to continue on a voluntary basis.

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However, the Minister has chosen not to accommodate the fishing industry. Instead, compulsory camera surveillance is introduced. This annoys Svend-Erik Andersen, chairman of the Danish Fisheries Association, who eventually believed that a solution could be found that both parties could see themselves agreeing to.

”I think we have gone to great lengths in the attempt to satisfy the Minister. Therefore, I am very annoyed that the Minister has nevertheless decided that Danish fishermen, as the only fishermen in the EU, should be forced to take cameras on board. Thus, our own minister with open eyes has chosen to make the Danish fishermen suspicious. We can only perceive it as a declaration of no confidence. I’m sorry, and I do not think that the Minister takes responsibility for ensuring a good dialogue and cooperation on camera surveillance in Danish fisheries,” says Svend-Erik Andersen.

The collaboration is scrapped

From the start, the Danish Fisheries Association has been opposed to compulsory camera surveillance. It is a major intervention in the individual fisherman’s everyday life that several surveillance cameras are installed on the fishing vessels. Despite this, the fishing industry entered into an agreement on a voluntary camera project in 2021 to promote dialogue and cooperation on camera surveillance in the Kattegat. With the Minister’s decision, the cooperation has broken down, and the chairman is taking this very seriously.

”The dialogue about the camera project has now finally broken down, and it leaves the profession in an annoying situation. We would really like to have found a solution that both parties could see themselves in, but that is not how it should go,” says Svend-Erik Andersen.

Fishing patterns unchanged

The Danish Fisheries Association is convinced that camera surveillance will not benefit the cod stock.

”If anyone is interested in a healthy marine environment and healthy fish stocks, then it is us who make a living from fishing. I completely agree that we must do what we can to restore the cod stock in the Kattegat. We have already reduced the cod fishery to an absolute minimum. We can probably do nothing about climate change, but we have long called for a clear effort in relation to nutrient emissions. It is illusory to think that camera surveillance helps the cod stock. Especially when it is clear from the evaluation report for the first phase of the camera project that the fishermen do not change their behavior when they get a camera combined with the fact that we are far from fishing the entire cod quota in the Kattegat,” says Svend-Erik Andersen.

The fight continues

Although the Minister has now sealed the voluntary experiment with the fate of camera surveillance in the short term, the Danish Fisheries Association will not give up the fight against forced camera surveillance and Danish monopoly. Because in the EU, new control rules are being negotiated, and here the Danish Fisheries Association will work actively to ensure that compulsory camera surveillance is not introduced.

”Many EU countries are strong opponents of camera surveillance. The same applies to Norway, with which we often compare ourselves. We are working hard to ensure that the EU does not introduce requirements for compulsory camera surveillance. I hope then that you look at the current EU rules so that you do not over-implement the rules in Denmark. There must be proportionality in rules and control – this also applies in the area of ​​fisheries,” says Svend-Erik Andersen.  

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